The Vanishing Point

Midnight thoughts with CPTSD

In the darkness of my bedroom I look at the ceiling.

Lit only by the pale moon, the fan, still in the autumn cool, is a black spider clutching the ceiling and hovering over the bed. In perfect silence and with the greatest care I relax my desperate grip on my sleeping husband’s hand.

It would be rude to wake him. Worse still to disturb his sleep with my need. And so, with practiced grace, I leave him in peace as I withdraw.

Down the stairs in darkness. I light no lamps that might pierce the darkness of our bedroom and thereby alert or alarm him. Silently past the sleeping dogs. The retriever yipping softly as he chases dream rabbits. The poodle twitching as he snores curled into a tight ball beneath his blanket. They might accompany me into the solitary darkness below, but…better to let them stay with him, blissful in their sleep.

When I was younger I was not so careful. Perhaps I thought I had some justification, some fundamental right to a voice, a sound, to even just the smallest word of distress. But all words fall silent.

It is their nature.
Even a scream ends when the breath is exhausted.

When I was younger the frictions that moved me, that jarred me or brought me to the edge of imposing on others, were more frequent.

They left me bruised.

At times I thought I would explode, but I couldn’t do that. The mess it would leave for others! That? That would be terribly rude. How could I possibly be so inconvenient? It simply would not do.

So to protect myself I have become, not harder, not impervious, but instead malleable, permeable. I am capable now of absorbing the pains that earlier would have broken me. I can smile and let the world go on, unimpeded by any concern I might cause.

I am not invisible—It would be far too jarring to simply wink out of existence: the days and routines of those I love would be interrupted—but I have no mass. Pain has nothing to cling to, despair nothing to resound through or echo off of. They pass through me as easily as through air.

What holds me in place and gives me shape are my thoughts. My mind is all that defines the void within.

My mind ties me together. Each insubstantial thought gives shape to me as the insubstantial air gives shape to a bubble: the only thing truly there is air.

My mind is a constant thing. It is like the sea, turning over and over. Even as it defines my limits it erodes my barriers. It turns over the pain, the desire, the loss, the resentment, the fear, the self-loathing, relentlessly. They all tumble against each other in perpetual action. They polish one another to a glossy shine; they lose their edges and become, almost, tiny jewels, moments of exquisite beauty and sadness.

One day, when the last tear is shed, the last resentment purged, the last fantasy dispatched, and the last desire let go, my mind will have ground all its emotions and thoughts to dust. There will be no more thoughts.

In that moment I will cease.

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